Rudy Giuliani has a podcast where he gripes about Democrats, insists Trump won the election, and hawks MyPillow products. He once stood in front of a garden shop, between a crematorium and a purveyor of sex toys, giving a press conference in which he insisted there had been serious election fraud. Yet even he said (although certainly not publicly) that at least one of Donald Trump’s plans to overturn the election went too far.
What could be too much for Giuliani? According to the New York Times, a military takeover of the election went just a little too far. The report says that it was retired Army colonel Phil Waldron who contacted Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, to float the idea of using the Department of Homeland Security or the military to confiscate voting machines.
In fact, the idea made it all the way to a draft order, presented by Flynn and Sidney Powell to Donald Trump, who called Giuliani in. It was reportedly Giuliani who told Trump there was no way this would work.
When Mr. Giuliani read the draft order, he told Mr. Trump that the military could be used only if there was clear-cut evidence of foreign interference in the election.
It wasn’t too much for others in the Trump circle, though. As The Week reported in December 2020, Michael Flynn went on pushing the idea publically, saying on Newsmax that Trump should, while still in office and in power, send the military into swing states and force a redo of the election.
Legal experts writing for JustSecurity at the time noted that if Trump and officials in his administration were to push forward with any such efforts, it would violate a long list of Federal laws. See below, with emphasis added:
First, it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, an 1878 law codifying the longstanding principle that the military may not engage in domestic law enforcement (18 U.S. Code 1385)…There are also specific laws designed to criminalize election interference by the military. Members of the Armed Forces, for example, who assist with the overthrow of a lawful election can be held criminally liable under 18 U.S. Code 593 and sentenced for up to five years imprisonment. More significantly, a series of criminal provisions in federal law prohibits attempts to overthrow the lawful authority of federal and state government. These laws could subject Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, or others involved in such a plan to criminal charges much in the way that the 1861 firing on Fort Sumter by confederate forces after the election of Abraham Lincoln was criminal.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com